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It’s a Clash of Wills on Supergirl, With a Side of Pestilence

We’re back with another episode of Supergirl as we march towards the end of the season! This week we finally meet Pestilence, and Kara and Imra have a difference of opinion on how to deal with her. Let’s jump in with Kori on recaps and Elizabeth on analysis!

Recap

So the title for this episode, “Of Two Minds” was fitting for nearly every main plot going on this week. We have Reign and Sam who are literally Kryptonian Doom Goddess and loving, kind, good, mother squaring off for meatspace in one body. Then there’s Supergirl and Lena on the reveal that Sam/Reign has been kept contained, and Kara and Imra disagreeing on how to deal with Pestilence. Good times!

We ended last week with biblical dead birds dropping imagery, and we pick right up on that with Mon-El immediately recognizing Pestilence is now a new player in this deadly game. He gives them a rundown on how fatal she can be, and we’re also reminded that she eventually becomes Blight in the future, destroyer of worlds. The Legion says the secret to stopping her is in their DNA, they just need to extract it and process it and somehow do something with it.

For Imra, it’s “Final Countdown” time, and she’s pretty much ready to just go HAM on Pestilence and end the threat here and now. Kara disagrees with her, thinking that Pestilence, or at least the woman she was before Pestilence manifested like the third Kryptonian-Manchurian Candidate, needs to be saved.

I’m gonna be honest here. I don’t understand this conflict for much of the episode. Previously, we’ve been shown that Kara is willing to do what it takes when push comes to shove to stop a more dangerous threat. She pushed the button that killed Rhea of Daxam, she more or less nuked Parasite, and since we’ve never seen Non again, one can argue she killed him to in order to save the world. This hasn’t been a problem for Kara like it is for Barry over on the Flash. But now it suddenly is, and so we can argue with Imra?

The only way I can see this making sense is Kara has some inherent bias she’s not aware of regarding fellow Kryptonians, but even that is a wash because again, Non. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but this was a large part of the episode, and it just doesn’t seem consistent from what we’ve seen of Kara in the past. Imra raises some great points, too: that Kara failed, that Pestilence did become Blight, and that she’s willing to live with killing one to save millions of lives in the future (including her sister’s).

Obviously, this is resolved, but it felt like filler and this far into the season filler is the last thing we need.

Anyways, back to Pestilence. She’s here, she’s setting loose an epidemic in National City, and Winn winds up getting sick. We get some nice follow through with his character after meeting his mother. While Winn and James have a bromance for the ages (and Mechad Brooks was phenomenal tonight), Winn also realizes he maybe wants more out of his life than to just be the DEO head tech. Could he be hanging up his metaphorical cape at the end of the season?

Back to Pestilence. Unlike the other Wordkillers, Pestilence’s human alter-ego, Dr. Grace Parker (Angela Zhou) was a nice little decoy. I’d initially thought she might be set up to lead into next season for Alex’s new girlfriend, but then she just stayed an asshole and voila! It’s a nice bit of twist to see that she’s just an asshole as a human unlike the unbelievably good Sam/Reign and Julia/Purity. (Though still an asshole in the “I believe I’m doing the right thing, these insurance companies are evil and need to be punished” way.)

The Legion ultimately create a cure, but Kara is unable to reach Pestilence (again, probably because Dr. Parker is just a jerk) through empathy, and we realize that Purity and Pestilence are both in town looking to break out their sister, Reign.

With that, we’re now back to Lena and Sam. There’s a lovely segment in the episode, probably my favorite, with Reign and Sam confronting each other in mental space. Reign lists all of Sam’s (understandable) frustrations with being a parent, even as Sam struggles back. Poor Sam, you don’t deserve any of this.

Lena, however. While it’s understandable that she was worried about the government or DEO arresting Sam and not understanding that Sam can’t control herself with Reign manifests, she never shares any of the information she has with Supergirl until it’s too late. She’s not set as a villain, at least not yet, but she does share the same fatal flaw as the rest of the Luthor family: hubris. Even if her actions stem from the best of intentions, it’s very uncomfortable to watch her electrocuting Sam. And the cure doesn’t even work, which leads Purity and Pestilence to spring their sister loose. This basically means Kara is now high key fucked, and we’re going to see how she handles the Worldkiller Trinity next week when they blot out the sun.

My only other main observation was that the action felt a little lacking this week. Granted, if this weren’t set following the last two episodes, it would probably be average by the show’s standards. However, the last two episodes set a high bar that left “Of Two Minds” feeling underwhelming. Hopefully, next week picks back up.

Analysis

I have to be honest, I was surprised to see that this episode was so well received on Twitter because I was kind of bored by most of it. Not “stop watching” bored, but I found myself checking out frequently during the episode. I can’t even really put my finger on why it wasn’t holding my interest, but I can tell you that things turned around VERY dramatically in the last five minutes. If I had to take a guess, I think it’s because the story has been in a holding pattern since well before the hiatus, and I am more than ready for the plot to start running forward after grinding to a halt through a quarter of a season and a huge second hiatus.

One of my favorite things on Supergirl is when Kara is angry. Not punching-bad-guys angry, but just stone-cold furious. The only one other times I can recall Kara seething with rage like she did this episode was 1) when she realized what Lena had done and kept from her and 2) when she found out that James was the Guardian. Kara’s cold anger is genuinely terrifying, and it’s almost a relief that the Worldkillers interrupted the moment.

I find it kind of funny that neither Imra nor Lena have learned their lessons about keeping things from Kara and/or Supergirl. There aren’t a lot of things that upset or anger her, but being lied to is The Big One. I’m glad Mon-El finally caught on to this, now I think it’s time for everyone else to get on the same page.

Despite my grumblings about pacing, I do really like what they’re doing with the Worldkiller storyline, especially Sam’s part in it. Sam being able to speak to Reign directly isn’t a direction I was expecting this plot to go, but it’s been a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t necessarily expecting Sam to even know she was Reign until the last possible minute, but this is a welcome departure from my expectations. I like the trope of a person arguing with themselves in a literal sense. Sure, it’s heavy handed, but what isn’t kind of overdramatic or silly in the comic book genre? Reign is actually a rather subdued villain compared to some of the other yahoos we’ve seen across the DCTV universe. She’s genuinely, deeply terrifying even when weakened or frightened. I’m betting by the end of the season, she’ll be one of my favorite villains of all time.

The scene with Winn almost dying almost felt like a setup to kill off his character, and I was genuinely concerned for a moment. However, it may be a lead in to Winn departing the show for another reason, which wouldn’t be the end of the world for me. I feel like Winn’s arc has been wrapped up in a nice little bow at this point, so if the character is being written off, I won’t be heartbroken over it.

I like that the issues with J’onn’s father are not just being dropped and still get mentioned in the show’s linear narrative. I also like that J’onn and Alex have bonded even more by what Alex describes as “A very hard year,” which is a hilarious understatement. Due to the large hiatuses, it’s sometimes hard to remember how much poor Alex has endured already. I hope she gets a break next season. Maybe a nap?

On a final note, I want to point out that Brainy is quickly becoming my new favorite autistic-coded character. As far as depicting misunderstanding without being mean-spirited about it, Supergirl is doing an excellent job. It’s a small thing, but I feel it deserves to be commended.

What did you think about this episode? Did it land for you? Let us know, and we’ll see you next Tuesday!


Images courtesy of the CW

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When not working on her degree or at her actual job, Elizabeth pursues her true passion of complaining at great length about pop culture on the internet. She serves as a Managing Editor for The Fandomentals. You can find her on Tumblr, Twitter and Steam @ohemgeelizabeth

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